Just weeks after its US theatrical release, Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV is now available to own digitally. As part of the Final Fantasy XV Universe, this tie in feature length film boasts a cast of stars and impressive visuals. Is that enough though to tie fans over, while waiting for the delayed game’s release? Find out in our Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV review.
The world of Final Fantasy XV centers on the conflict between the empire of Niflheim and the kingdom of Lucis. Lucis, lead by their king Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII, father of Final Fantasy XV’s Noctis, resists the empire’s attempts to take over the world. In their last remaining settlement, the mega-city Insomnia, King Regis utilizes a crystal to put an impenetrable wall around their city, and uses his elite soldiers, known as the Kingsglaive, to fight back.
The Kingsglaive are special warriors who harness the magic of King Regis to repeal the invading Niflheim forces. After a particularly challenging engagement, King Regis decides to accept an armistice put forth by the empire. As part of the peace deal, his son Noctis is promised to marry Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, a prisoner of the empire and former princess of the province of Tenebrae. However, the King does not plan to allow his son and Lunafreya to be used by Niflheim. He sends Noctis away and tasks Nyx Ulric, one of the greatest among the Kingsglaive, to rescue Lunafreya and take her away from the city.
Taking place in parallel with Final Fantasy XV, Kingsglaive provides a look at the secondary characters surrounding the young prince and the events around why he is sent away from his home. Focusing on the larger conflict between Lucis and Niflheim allows for spectacular battles and political intrigue, all while fleshing out the world before fans even get the opportunity to play the game.
Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV does a good job of weaving an interesting story while giving the main characters background and purpose. Unlike previous attempts by Square (now Square Enix) to make films, Kingsglaive is relatively easy to follow. The characters all have easy to understand motivations and the politics don’t bog down the proceedings. Even the more fantastical elements are understood well enough that they do not pull the viewer out of the experience.
Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV is quite pretty. In fact, I’ve seen the term gorgeous thrown about. Character models are excellently detailed and it’s often only the crazy action or occasional missed lip sync that will remind you this is animated in the style of the game. The action is intense, but surprisingly easy to follow. We watch as the members of the Kingsglaive toss their daggers around, allowing the wielder to instantly teleport to any destination within throwing distance, a move seen in previous FFXV trailers and demos.
To compliment the character designs and action is the world. Set primarily in the city of Insomnia, the world of Final Fantasy XV mixes the regal attire and enormous castles of medieval fantasy with car-lined streets and modern looking skyscrapers. Characters use smart phones and digital watches, while watching cartoons on television and getting information from 24 hour style news networks. Then, those same characters will do battle with swords and throw lightning from their hands. By all rights, this juxtaposition should be off-putting, but the universe of Final Fantasy XV really makes it work.
In advertising the movie, Kingsglaive made a big deal about its three major voice actors, Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), and Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, and many other works). Aaron Paul is absolutely the standout here, but all three, as well as the numerous other voice actors, add enough believability and gravitas that you never feel like anyone was phoning it in. Despite early worries, the stars well-known voices never detract from their characters. There is never any fear that Nyx will suddenly slip into Jesse from Breaking Bad, for example.
Kingsglaive is not a perfect movie though. It keeps a strong pace throughout the first hour or so and just as it feels like the movie is winding down, you’ll look at the time and realize there is nearly another hour left. While the second half certainly picks up, even hitting it’s own stride, the final action set piece can feel a little long winded. Also, a number of the secondary characters get lost among the main cast and when it comes to a point where remembering who these characters are could add to the emotion of the scene, you’ll find yourself at a loss for who played what role in these events.
Now, what would anything with the Final Fantasy name be without music. Following in the tradition of previous entries, the music is a pleasure to listen to. Using orchestra music for grand sweeping scenes and combining heavy rock inspired sounds for the action blends perfectly with the worlds mixture of fantastical and futuristic. Those with sharp ears will find nods to previous entries, and classics pieces of music even make the occasional cameo.
Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV succeeds where other video game tie-in films have often faltered. Instead of just borrowing the aesthetic or characters, the film builds of the mythology of the FFXV universe, introducing us to factions and characters that we have only heard about in the trailers of the main game. While the two hour runtime may seem to overstay its welcome, the top-notch voice acting, spectacular action, and excellent soundtrack make it a worthy edition to this mega franchise. Given the two month delay of the game, Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV just makes me that much more eager to explore this world further.
Score: 8.0 / 10
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV was released digitally on August 30th, 2016. It is available from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Xbox, and Playstation.